Letter: Did you know that Facebook owns all of your data?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shows Timeline during the f/8 conference in San Francisco, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shows Timeline during the f/8 conference in San Francisco, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The accusations that Facebook tweaks its news feeds to cull out news from conservative sites (“Facebook is fully capable of inserting bias into your news feeds,” May 12) might have validity when one examines its culture of personal information control.

In his book, “Future Crimes,” Marc Goodman reveals some chilling personal data-mining practices and use by Facebook. When one subscribes to the site, they must agree to its terms of service. This is that long, boring document that practically no one reads. However, the devil is in the details.

According to the book, when you agree the first time, you further agree to all future changes to your service. Over time, that has meant that Facebook has amended its agreement so that it can do almost anything they want with your posts, pictures, emails, etc. Further, through its apps, it can turn on your iPhone or Android phone’s camera and microphone.

Facebook’s mammoth income is generated by selling your information to advertisers. Say, for example, that extraordinarily precious picture of your ultra-cute child is posted. If a baby-food advertiser wanted to use it, Facebook could sell it to them, reap the profits and royalties, and you get zilch, because buried in the agreement is that they own your pictures.

When I discuss this information with Facebook subscribers I know, they haven’t a clue as to what is transpiring. Social media like this appear to be free and easy; however, the price one pays for waiving privacy is enormous.

So it would not at all surprise me if Facebook is tinkering with its news feeds. Once they have all that information on you, why not try to channel your mind into some further profit-producing direction?

TONY ETTORRE, WELLINGTON